Three industry groups embroiled in a heated debate over whether soon-to-be deployed 5G wireless services will interfere with aviation safety said in a joint statement Wednesday they will work collaboratively on a solution.

Airlines for America, which represents the airline industry; the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents aircraft manufacturers; and CTIA, which represents the wireless communications industry, issued a joint statement announcing plans to “share the available data to identify the specific areas of concern for aviation.”

“The best technical experts from across both industries will be working collectively to identify a path forward, in coordination with the FAA and FCC,” the groups said, referring to the two key regulators involved in the dust-up, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission.

The industries have been at odds over plans to deploy 5G wireless networks early next month in bandwidth adjacent to the spectrum used by radar altimeters.

The FAA has cautioned that the proximity of the two bands may result in the 5G use interfering with automated cockpit systems used in low-visibility situations, and airline executives warned the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about potential dangers as well as increased flight cancellations that would result if the new technology were deployed.

But the telecommunications industry, which views 5G as a potential economic boon, has said the airline industries’ concerns were overblown, and pointed to the use of 5G operations in some 40 countries as evidence that the technology can be deployed safely.


Both sides have suggested mitigations aimed at minimizing the potential for interference. Lawmakers urged airline executives to avoid steps to delay deployment of 5G technology.

A spokesperson for the FCC, which allocates radio bandwidth including the 5G spectrum, said this week that the agency “continues to work productively with the FAA to ensure the safe and swift deployment of new technologies” and is “optimistic” that it will resolve outstanding issues.

On Wednesday, the three industry groups vowed to help the agencies find that solution.

“Our belief is that by working collaboratively in good faith on a data-driven solution, we can achieve our shared goal of deploying 5G while preserving aviation safety,” they said.

Concerned about 5G conflicting with aviation, the FAA on Dec. 7 issued two airworthiness directives to gather information about the potential effects on aviation safety equipment.

The agency warned the technology could cause interference that could conflict with automated cockpit systems used in low visibility situations, leading to delays, diversions and cancellations.